Forgotten Soldiers

Hey Readers

I wrote this poem two years ago to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings when allied troops
landed on the beaches of Normandy to begin the liberation of continental europe.

This was and there can be no doubt about it the beginning of the end of the Nazi occupation of so many nations and those who fought in this monumental battle deserve their place in history. However even at this time there was a largely forgotten campaign going on in Italy in which allied troops many of them from Scottish and British regiments were fighting Mussolini’s fascists to stop Germany’s key ally from making unwanted advances. Largely forgotten the Italian campaign scarcely merits a mention in any history books but it was still important to the war effort that the Italian campaign was won though you wouldn’t know it by the reaction of certain members of the British aristocracy such as the vicious Lady Astor who had the nerve to claim that those who fought in Italy had an easy war and even went so far as to claim these soldiers were D-Day Dodgers.

Now begging the honourable Lady’s pardon which I won’t I never beg to anyone especially the British aristocracy, my uncles Donald (Dan) Russell (Scots Guards) Robert Smith Highland Light Infantry and James Smith Highland Light Infantry. were involved in the Italian campaign and they never ran away from anything in their lives

Well my Uncle Dan did runaway once. That was from his parents when as soon as he reached 16 he ran to join the army so he could serve in the Scots Guards as he didn’t want to serve in an English regiment. So Lady Astor my Uncle Dan technically committed an illegal act by joining the army two years before he should have to so he could serve his country and I am sure many soldiers did the same to serve in their local regiment and save the likes of you. So this is my tribute to those whom history appears to have neglected, Men like Donald Robertson Russell(Dan) to those he loved and to other uncles who also served in the Italian campaign and who all were proud to do their bit for the country and for humanity. I have called the poem which I primarily dedicate to the memory Dan Russell Forgotten Soldiers I hope you find it a challenging and thought provoking read.

Forgotten Soldiers

As veterans gathered on the beaches of Normandy
to commemorate the turning point of the war
I think of those who fought in another campaign
ignored they got on with the job
and never complained
the forgotten soldiers who served in Italy
with dignity they refused to react
when a poisonous reptile
referred to them as D-day dodgers
my uncle Dan served amongst in their number
so what if he wasn’t on the front line in France
he knew the ones who were would make the advance
do the job to the best of their ability
begin the restoration of liberty
to mainland europe
meanwhile in Italy forgotten soldiers died
remember them
they fought in your name
for your freedom
give them one moment of your time
so as the sun sets on this day
they too shall know glory
their stories deserve to told
unlike my uncle many did not get the chance to grow old
surrounded by love of families and friends
It’s time to stop pretending it was all about one battle
Important though it was there were many others
as there are in any wars
so remember the fallen wherever they fell
they all went through hell so we might live
have the right to make choices
make sure our voices are heard
our rights preserved
our country kept safe
from the tyranny that swept
a frightened continent
when a world walked on eggshells
and forgotten soldiers did their duty
in the name of not of glory
but of peace

@ Gayle Smith 2014

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